If you are doing any special type of woodwork, you will need to have a wood lathe in your toolbox. These will help you keep the wood in place, and you will be able to adjust it as you need to reach all of the areas. These can be used to deform, turn, face, drill, cut, and sand the wood, and you need to ensure that you have the best one that you can afford for your needs.
Here is everything you need to know about these tools so you can make the right choice, so keep reading our comprehensive guide to finding out more.
10 Best Wood Lathes
1. Shop Fox W1704 Benchtop Lathe
If you are looking for something that you can place on the top of your bench, this is the right model, and it will be easy to use. The motor is 1/3 HP with 2 amps, single phase, 110 volts, and 60 Hz, and this one has 12” distances between the centers. The over the bed has an 8” swing and it is made completely of cast iron, and it has speed control for you to use.
There is 2 tool rests included, and this is perfect for a beginner or someone who doesn’t do a lot of woodwork.
- Ideal for smaller projects
- Made of cast iron
If you are searching for a high-quality build and is great for small projects and pen turning, this one is perfect.
2. Delta Industrial 46-460 Midi Lathe
If you are going to be using this professionally or do a lot with wood, you want one with a powerful motor. The motor on this one is 1,725 rpm with a maximum of 1 hp with a huge swing capacity of 12.5 inches with a 1” drive spindle and 8RH TPI thread. This has 3 different settings for speeds, and it can reverse as well as forward, so you get a better finish.
This is a great model, and you can easily get everything completed that you want with this, especially if you are doing it professionally.
- Powerful motor
- Variable speeds
- 5-year warranty
- Table stand not included
If you don’t mind spending a good amount of money on a high-quality tool, then you need to be checking this one out.
3. Jectse Powerful Mini Lathe
If you aren’t going to be doing any big wood projects, then the miniature lathes would work just as well for you. This mini lathe has a powerful motor of 12,000 rpm and 60 watts of total power to help you get the job done. This is made of the highest quality steel that is available to ensure that it will be durable and that all of the parts will be easy to use.
This one doesn’t handle wood, but it can also handle precious metals and soft metals simultaneously.
- Can handle metals and wood
- Powerful motor
- Easy to use
- Chuck sometimes can’t hold the materials
When it comes to the right lathe, you need to consider the materials you would use, and if you want to work with metals and wood, this one is ideal.
4. Wen Benchtop Mini Lathe
Another great option that can be put on your workbench is this mini lathe that is made by Wen. This can handle pieces that are 8” wide to 12” long, and the motor is 3.2 amp, which makes it more powerful than other models of the same size. The motor’s speed can be adjusted from 750 rpm to 3200 rmp depending on your needs easily, and there are 2 tool rests that are interchangeable.
- Ideal for small projects
- 2 tool rests
- Adjustable speed
- The product can arrive broken.
- Locking mechanisms can break easily
If you are working on small items like chess pieces, cups, bowls, or pens, then this model would be the perfect fit for your needs.
5. Proxxon Woodturning Micro Lathe
Those who are only going to be doing any small items and who aren’t going to do it regularly, then this micro lathe from Proxxon would be great. It is vibration-free, quiet, and precise, with a voltage of 110. It has a slim design and low in terms of weight so you can place it anywhere you want.
If you want something that you can use for your miniature items, this would be ideal, so go ahead and check it out.
- Ideal for miniature carvings
- Not great for larger wood-based projects
For those who want to have something easy to use on hand and don’t want something overly complicated, this would be the right model.
6. Rikon Miniature Lathe
This is another great option for someone who doesn’t need a full-sized woodworking lathe but wants their smaller tasks. This has a ½ motor with a 10” and 18” swing between the centers, which gives plenty of space for your items. This is made of the highest-quality cast iron without vibration to make the woodworking smoother and faster.
It has 5 speeds to pick and choose from to help you complete any of the projects you have sitting around faster.
- Great for pens
- Hardly any vibration
- 5 settings for speed
This was made just for the pen workers who wanted something smaller to work with, and that would have less vibration, so if those are your goals, then this one should be on your list.
7. Jet Variable Speed JWL-1221VS Wood Lathe
If speed control is something that you need and want in your wood lathe, then this model might be the right one for you. It has variable speeds from 60 RPM to 3600 RPM, and you can go both forward and reverse in a smooth and easy transition. It has 24 indexing positions integrated, and the controls are conveniently located to make them easy to access.
When it comes to speed, you want to choose how fast everything is going, and this machine makes it much easier for you to do that.
- The cord is 4’ long
- 6 handles
- 5-year warranty
If you love to do woodworking, then this would be the perfect machine for you, so make sure to check it out.
8. MicroLux Woodworking Lathe
If you are a woodworker by trade or enjoy it as your hobby, this will be the ideal model for you to look at. The spindle has 1-inch x 8 TPL external threading, and this machine has a lot of heft, durability, and power. The weight is 41 pounds, and it is perfect for making small items like bowls, pens, candlesticks, shipyards, pepper grinders, and much more.
This is from one of the top brands in the industry, and that means it will be easy to use and quick to get your projects done.
- The motor can burn out easily.
- Tool guide can come loose
If you are searching for something that will be useful in a wide variety of ways, this should be the option.
9. Grizzly Industrial Benchtop Lathe
If you are searching for something that industrial in usage, then this will be the right model for you to look at. This has a ½ HP motor with a swing over 10” and an 18” distance between the centers. It also has 3 speeds that you can choose from for each of your projects, and it is made of heavy-duty cast iron for durability.
It has speeds that go from 650 RPM to 3800 RPM, so you can easily customize how much speed you want or need.
- Professional grade
If you do many industrial types of woodworking, this will be the perfect option for all of your needs.
10. Wen Mini 3420T Wood Lath
Another option from one of the top brands is this mini wood lathe that would make working the wood for pens, chess pieces, bowls, and much easier and quicker. The motor has a soft start, and it has speeds from 750 RPM to 3200 RPM, and there is a 5” faceplate for when you aren’t using the turning spindle.
This would be great for those who want something to have at home and those who don’t want to spend a lot of money at the same time.
- Rotating dial for speed control
- Ideal for beginners
- Some say it is weak
If you will be creating smaller wood pieces and want something that will last you a long time, then this is the right model for you.
Wood Lathes Buying Guide
You should always make sure that when you are buying any tools for your collection, you know how to choose the right option. Ensure that you are thinking about what this tool is and what it can do, along with what you will want to look at in terms of factors and much more. The more you know about these tools, the easier your choice will be in the end.
What is a Wood Lathe?
The first thing you need to know is what the wood lathe is, and it is a tool or machine that will help you with woodworking. It can spin around, and you will be able to carve the wood into various shapes, and you can even drill into the wood. This can help you with smoothing out the wood when it is spinning and creating any designs that you want at the same time.
What to Look for Before Buying?
You should make sure that you know the factors that you need to consider when you are looking at the wood lathes. There are plenty of criteria or factors, such as:
- Project Type – The first thing you need to consider is what type of project you will be doing since some models aren’t great for bigger projects. Think about if the model you are looking at will handle pens, bowls, and more or if it is meant for smaller or larger projects.
- Size –Another thing to consider is the wood lathe’s size, and you should think about how much area you have available on your workbench. Not only that, but you need to think about if you are going to have the space to store it easily somewhere when it isn’t in use. Make sure that you measure the area you want to keep it in and then compare it against the tool’s size.
- Speed – Also, speed is important, so think about how many options you would have in speed. You would also want to know if you can change the speed to the desired level or only 2 to 3 setting options.
- Horsepower – The motor is important, so you want to know just how much horsepower you will be getting. This is vital if you look for something that would have a higher speed and more powerful motor.
- Type – There are many types of types that you would want to look at, including mini, micro, and normal size. Ensure that you are figuring out which one would fit your needs the best, including what projects you are doing, and then look at those.
- Stability – You should also consider stability, so make sure of how it will be placed and if it comes with a bench or if you have to place it on your workbench. If you place it on your workbench, then think about the legs and if it would have grippers on the bottom to keep it from slipping.
- Additional Features – There are plenty of additional features that you need to see if your chosen model has, including the ability to work with metals and much more. This is important to decide what additional features you want or what you need to have before making your final choice.
Ensure that you are using all of these factors and criteria to help you decide upon the perfect model for your needs. You will want to think about which model would suit your project needs and so much more.
- How do I know what type of projects the wood lathe can handle?
Each of the wood lathes would tell you what type of projects they can handle, so make sure you are looking at it. If you want to do small projects like bowls, pens, and more, then you should go with the mini models. However, if you are using it to do miniature projects like ships and more, the micro ones might better suit you.
- What are the main things to consider when choosing the right model?
You want to look at numerous things when it comes to picking the right model, but the most important are the base, measures, motor, speed, and durability. You want to have a model that will last you for a long time, and that will work for the projects you are going to start.
- How do I know what woods my lathe can handle?
You should make sure that you are figuring out if you are using a wide variety of woods on your lathe if it can handle that. You want to find one that can handle both soft and hardwoods since most of them do soft. This should be listed on the product, or you can ask the customer service for advice.
- Do I need to wear any gloves when I am doing this?
You should make sure that you aren’t wearing any gloves since they could get stuck in the equipment. However, you should make sure that you are wearing some glasses to prevent the wood chips from getting into your eyes and causing damage. You don’t want to wear anything overly loose while working with this equipment to prevent it from getting caught and causing significant damage.
Go ahead and check out all of these options that we have listed above so you can find the one that fits your needs. You need to consider the type of project you are going to be doing and the size of the tool. You should also think about the speed options you would have, along with the stability, durability, and much more.